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Old style voltage regulator issues?

Practical Motorsport Wiring - Club Level

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Hi Fellow HPAers

Recently joined member of the Club level wiring course here. So please bear with me if this sounds pretty basic to some of you.

I've just been tidying up some shite wiring on my modified 1954 Dodge. This involved tidying up some wiring to the indicator switch. I also re-ran wiring from the fuse box to the dashboard switch to turn the radiator electric fan on and off and then onto the fan itself, previous owner had used speaker wire and was really poorly done.

Tested everything and was running fine. Next day went on to tidy up some more shite wiring in the boot to tail lights/indicators. Prior to starting turned on lights so I could trace feeds etc. No headlights or tail lights. Noticed a clicking sound in engine bay and traced noise to what I believe is the voltage regulator (see attached pictures).

Removed cover and gave it a spray with contact cleaner. Tried lights again and discovered that the headlights only flashed on and off in synchronization with the clicking noise. I take it that sound is the magnetized coils clicking on and off. So figure this could be the problem of no lights.


Am I right with my assumption that the regulator is faulty? Some one who saw it thought it might be a type of headlight relay?

Is there a way to test this?

Can you repair old style regulators like this?

If not can anyone advise where in NZ I might find a supplier for a type like this? I cant find anything on it that relates to voltage etc.

Any other advice would be appreciated.

From what I know these cars came out with a 6 cylinder engine and 6 volt system. During the 80s was modified with a V8 and converted to 12v but a lot of the wiring looks original so a real battle knowing what's what.

Arrh the joys of old modified cars.

Cheers Malcolm

Attached Files

Nah, that's the headlamp relay. One side for dip, one for high beam.

Hi Adam

Thanks for the reply and since my initial post I have determined that it is the relay for low and high beam. Weird thing is you turn on park lights which aren't to my knowledge connected to the relay. The park lights come on for a second then go off. Then on low or high beam they flick on and off.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Cheers Malcolm

Those relays do have a bit of a problem with burned contacts, so some cleaning with W&D papar should help., not sure if a lubricant spray helped, though, as they use a flexible "pivot" that can't stick.

It isn't too clear what you mean about the park lights, but many American vehicles were set up with the park lights coming on in the park position, then going off when on the main headlights - could this be what's confusing you?

Often when older vehicles were converted to 12V they were also converted to a negative ground and alternator - is your vehicle using an alternator or generator/dynamo? One thing to watch out for, some very early alternator equiped vehicles still used a positive ground, as was normal practice with dynamos. Are you actually having a problem with the battery discharging and/or dim lights?

Good morning Gord

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my question it is appreciated.

Sorry I may not have been clear with my description, so to clarify.

1. Turn lights to park and they come on for a couple of seconds and then go off. This includes the rear tail lights.

2. Go to low beam and the headlights flash on and off periodically and the number plate lights only come on at rear really dimly in sync with headlights flashing. No tail lights whatsoever come on. And yes park lights where never designed to come on when you move from park light position to headlights.

3. Gave the relay a clean up using a soft paintbrush and sprayed with contact cleaner as I worked doing a small area at a time. Gave points a very fine w&d. Also removed external wires and cleaned connections. Never used any lubricant.

4. Cars been performing fine for last 5 years on the lights however awhile ago indicators played up and after looking at these saw the shittest of connections and wiring and redid. Have driven about 400kms no problems since and still work fine now.

5. As mentioned in post next step was rewire the auxiliary cooling fan in front of radiator. Works fine and still does.

6. The car had a 360 mopar fitted in the late 80s early 90s and runs 12v system and is negative earth, it runs an alternator.

7. As I was about to tackle the boot wiring I moved all my gear that I typically carry out of boot and started drawing up a wiring diagram of the birds nest that's currently in place so did touch some connections as my hand traced the wiring. It was after this that I livened up the system to then use multimeter and at that point was when fault occurred. So wonder if that may have caused some issue. However I wouldn't have thought it would affect front wiring plus straight away the relay started clicking which I have never heard before.

Battery is new as in 2 months old and showing 12.6v.

Not much else I can add except I haven't pulled the light switch out of dash yet to test. It's a knob turn right once for park then further right for headlights, dip switch is on the floor for hi beam.

Sorry this post now the length of a novel.

Cheers Malcolm

Hi All

Just to close off this thread on how I got on.

Issue was a dead short in tail lights that would trip the headlamp relay which was causing the lights to go on then off. Basically the headlamp relay would get hot then cool opening and closing the contacts from the dead short.

Went looking for the dead short and I was spoilt for choice with about 12 dodgy connections, don't you just love old classic cars. Made the call to rip out the complete loom in rear of vehicle.

As I'm new to HPA followed the videos in the course, sketched up a basic wiring diagram. Went and invested in some quality auto electrical tools, wiring , brass terminals, glued heat shrink etc and just plugged away.

End result was a nice tidy wiring job, no issues and bonus is I've even got reversing lights and a boot light now.

Thanks to those who replied and was good first step into wiring for me.

Have a great new year.

Cheers Malcolm

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